The Property Occupations Act (POA) was passed last week. It is expected to commence in the next few months and will supersede the unpopular Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act (PAMDA).

Thankfully, POA abolishes a number of the strict procedural aspects of PAMDA and it is hoped this will provide more certainty for all involved in property transactions in Queensland.  

Significant changes

  • No warning statements: There is no requirement for the warning statement (Form 30c) or the BCCM information sheet (Form 14) to be attached to contracts. POA requires certain words to be contained in contracts immediately above where the buyer signs – if however those words are omitted, the buyer does not have a right to terminate the contract; rather the seller (or their agent) commits an offence and is liable for a financial penalty.
  • Definition of “residential property” simplified: Under the new definition, the key point is whether the property is used or intended to be used for residential purposes. This will make it much easier to determine whether the cooling off period and other requirements apply to the transaction. The overly complicated PAMDA definition sometimes required a complex analysis of relevant planning schemes.
  • Cooling off period easier to waive: The 5 business day cooling off period will continue to apply to sales of residential property however it can be waived or shortened simply by notice, rather than requiring a lawyer’s certificate.
  • Post auction contracts: Provided the contract is entered into by a registered bidder by 5pm on the second business day after being passed in at auction, the cooling off period will not apply.
  • Exemptions for certain buyers: The cooling off period will not apply to purchases by a publicly listed corporation (or its subsidiary), the State or a statutory body, or where the buyer is purchasing at least 3 lots at the same time.
  • Agent’s commission deregulated: The cap on commission rates for residential sales has been removed.
  • Developer licences abolished: Property developer licences are no longer required although certain disclosures must still be given.
  • Vacant land notices abolished: The previous requirement for agents to give a notice where vacant land cannot be used for residential purposes has been removed.

Transitional period  

Any contracts entered into before POA commences will continue to be governed by PAMDA.  

Conclusion  

The introduction of POA provides a new and more positive outlook for the property industry.